We all have a sweet tooth when we are young, and this is hot wired into our brain by our parents giving us sugary treats and telling us they are good. However, as we grow older our sugar intake can become a problem, especially for people with diabetes, obesity and a number of other health conditions. Most of us are aware that fizzy drinks, candy and cakes contain sugar and we may even put some in our tea or coffee, but it is also usually hidden in a lot of other things like processed food and cereals. One effect of sugar that nearly everyone knows about is tooth decay, and this can start to set in even when we are children, the rate of decay in kids mouths has increased over the last decade, partly due to fizzy drinks, and lack of oral hygiene.
Natural sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, and the majority of it is grown in India and Brazil, with world supplies reaching 170 million tons every year, and the trade is calculated at being worth around $12 billion. The problem with sugar cane is the amount of land it takes up to produce, and with the world population increasing year on year the demand is only increasing. This in turn is putting more strain on the planets biodiversity and so this is why some people are now turning to natural sugar substitutes.
For those who suffer from illnesses that are linked in some way to sugar then they are also switching to natural sugar substitutes to help control their condition. Without getting technical, there is are number of sugars in existence, each one has a slightly different effect on the body and our taste buds, so to give you an idea of the selection available, please refer to the list below.
Natural Sugar Substitutes
• Grapefruit: Add this to water to give it a pleasant sweet taste, it is also gives you a good boost of vitamin C. Please be aware though that grapefruit has been shown to react with certain medications.
• Honey: This is probably one of the most well-known natural sweeteners and also carries with it antioxidants. It is great on cereal and in a hot drink, as well as for cooking food. In fact if you search the Internet you will find thousands of recipes that use honey.
• Maple Syrup: This has proven to contain lots of useful antioxidants, and is widely used in the United States, and sales are now increasing in Europe and Asia.
• Erythritol: Although this has a very good sugar taste to it, the actual compound contains very few calories, in fact it is less than 0.2 per gram, and so is one of the best natural substitutes around, and has been proven as totally safe. As this comes in a powder it is very useful for use in cooking.
• Cranberries: Another US favorite, and adding it to cakes or your cereal can add natural sweetness, and on top of that it also has other health benefits.
There are actually over a hundred substitutes for natural sugar, so there is no need these days to use normal sugar.